3 Lessons Damn Daniel Can Teach PR Students

In less than a year we’ve traded in, “What are those” for “Damn Daniel.” Today, just about anyone would understand the reference, and some might even try to emulate the voice of Josh Holz, the 15-year-old boy that is so intrigued by Daniel’s style.

The 30-second video clip went viral in a few short days, reaching over 45 million views. Two months later, the 14-year-old boy from California is still being talked about. TIME Magazine has named Josh Holz and Daniel Lara two of “The 30 Most Influential People on the Internet.” What Daniel has taught many is that it is OK to be “back at it again with the white vans.” Though, if you step out of the blue Nikes and put yourself in the shoes of public relations student, you might just find that Daniel can teach you 3 important lessons.


Lesson #1 Branding Is Everything. Companies such as Vans, Clorox, Journeys, Axe, and Forever 21 capitalized on the viral video, using “Damn Daniel” as a way to sell. All of these corporations tried to relate with the young population through Damn Daniel social media, video, and commercial content. And it worked! Kevin Bailey, Vans and VF Action Sports Coalition President admitted to Fortune, “We couldn’t have created that viral moment if we tried.” Bailey doesn’t lie; the renowned white vans are being sold on eBay for $300,000. Millions of consumers view these kinds of videos and become exposed to a brand in a way that does not require paid advertising. The key is for brands to hop in the conversation right away, while videos are at their trending peak.

Lesson #2 Follow The News Cycle. You never know when the next big story is going to hit or, in this case, walk by in fashionable attire. PR professionals must also be aware of what’s trending. This video just goes to show that anything can make news with a good pitch. Damn Daniel was featured on Ellen, Good Morning America, Buzzfeed, Fortune, TIME, MTV, Huffington Post, Teen Vogue, and wait for it … The New York Times. Damn! I personally would love to read the pitch that got Damn Daniel in The New York Times.

Lesson #3 Create Good Publicity. Everyone in the PR game has heard, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.” While it may be a myth, Daniel has taught us that you’re better off creating positive news. Did it shock all of you that Daniel knew exactly how to deal with the fame? After Vans donated a lifetime supply of Vans to Daniel he took it upon himself to donate them University Children’s Hospital in Southern California. Yup, he was back at it again with philanthropy. Additionally, Daniel agreed to appear in Weezer’s new music video, California Kids. This will help the popularity of the music video, because the viral video is still gaining fans.  It doesn’t end there; Daniel and Josh are both scheduled to speak at the Boston College commencement this spring, one college student claimed, “I’ll be able to tell my grandkids “Damn Daniel” spoke at my graduation!” Has this gone too far? The corporations benefiting from the 30-second video would argue that it hasn’t gone far enough!

“Damn Daniel” can prepare those in PR world for the next viral video to come our way. As PR professionals, we must keep our finger on the pulse of public opinion. But for now, where will Daniel go from here? He may join Rebecca Black and Alex from Target as those who were internet famous or this may be one small white van step for man but one giant leap for mankind.

This guest blog post was written by PRowl account associate Jillian Curcio. 


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